- Words Cal McIntyre
- Photography Jay Russell
- Styling Symone Keisha
- Grooming Francesca Daniella
- Photography Assistant Otto Saner
- Production Studio Notion
Grammy-nominated multi-platinum singer, rapper, and musical maverick ILOVEMAKONNEN takes us to the skies where freedom, power and pride are for the masses.
For over half a decade ILOVEMAKONNEN has enticed and enchanted listeners throughout the stratosphere with his psychedelic musical melting pot of hip-hop, indie, and alternative. This trailblazer began making tsunamis with “Tuesday (feat. Drake),”, a track that will forever be engrained into the minds of generations, garnering his first RIAA Platinum plaque, earning a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration,” and racking up 156 million Spotify streams and counting. To say that’s a start is an understatement.
ILOVEMAKONNEN’s subsequent string of EPs and explosive tracks, including the release of “I’ve Been Waiting (feat. Fall Out Boy)” with the late Lil Peep, ILOVEMAKONNEN solidified his status as a true artist, songwriter, and innovator of the times we live in. ILOVEMAKONNEN’s ability to smash the veil of convention and musical boxes has thrust him into leading the way into a path only he knows. Collaborating with some of the biggest and diverse names in music (Vampire Weekend, Rick Rubin, Juice WRLD and more) his earned ILOVEMAKONNEN a seat at the table for so which he truly deserves.
- Shirt Lou Dalton
- Turtleneck Pronounce
In 2017 ILOVEMAKONNEN came out as gay through social media – an undeniably brave and selfless thing for anyone to do; to live and be open about they truly are. After previously calling out the rife homophobia that exists in the hip-hop industry, ILOVEMAKONNEN decided to be the voice he never had growing up. So, to say ILOVEMAKONNEN is a pioneer with his music only scratches the surface with his who he is as a human. Amid facing backlash even from his so-called peers within the industry only ignited the burning red fire behind ILOVEMAKONNEN to continue to simply be who he is. To do so in today’s political climate, especially in the United States, is an act of rebellion against the institutionalised racism and homophobia that pollutes the light.
“It felt natural to come out in the time it happened,” ILOVEMAKONNEN tells me, “I felt like I was always waiting for someone to take the next step, to take a stand and be the voice for the voiceless… I just figured that I should just use my voice while I can in hopes that others would start doing the same, instead of us all waiting for that one person.”
- Tracksuit QASIMI
- T-Shirt Maison Kitsune
- Trousers Astrid Andersen
- Shoes Dr Martens
- Shirt & Trousers Lou Dalton
- Rollneck Pronounce
Armed with stanzas that flicker between writing the culture and coming from his soul is something ILOVEMAKONNEN appears to do with ease, but it’s not always as easy as that. “I can put it all in my music,” ILOVEMAKONNEN tells me, “I feel like I’m so personal as an artist, but sometimes it’s difficult as I channel it all within my music and then when someone wants to talk to me about it I’m like ‘What? How did you even know that about me?’ forgetting that I’m putting it all into my music.” ILOVEMAKONNEN laughs.
It’s clear that music has always been a release for ILOVEMAKONNEN, whether it’s cathartic or not, MAKONNEN believes “I’ve got off on my chest you know… whether that can help someone is always a blessing, but it’s important that it’s off of my chest.” Being a light such as ILOVEMAKONNEN is, especially in dark times, is never going to be an easy task. “Hearing people’s stories of how the most personal things to me have helped them in their journey is so great. It’s like a win-win situation.”
With a body of work coming sooner than we think, it’s clear that ILOVEMAKONNEN is ultimately destined for the skies as he gears up to release his most personal work to date that is effortlessly woven into tracks that “start at home” ILOVEMAKONNEN tells me. It’s an inspirational tale that ILOVEMAKONNEN is on – from “starting in my bedroom with my dogs and my keyboard whilst being under house arrest” to standing tall in the wake of prejudice and being the guiding light that many of us need.
What’s more inspiring than ILOVEMAKONNEN being a pioneer is being able to watch him, learn from him and be inspired by him. He is here to take us on the journey all the while making us dance to his music. What more could you want from a hero?